Two second period goals from Bryan Rust and a power play tally from Sidney Crosby helped the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2 and close out their first-round series in five games.
Phil Kessel opened the scoring with a power play goal midway through the first period and then Rust’s pair gave the Penguins a commanding 3-0 lead early in the second frame.
But that lead wasn’t safe, as has happened a number of times this series. William Karlsson and Boone Jenner scored in a span of 2:52 to send the Blue Jackets into the final period own only a goal.
Early in the third period the Blue Jackets thought they had tied the game but Alexander Wennberg was called for goalie interference on Marc-Andre Fleury. The ensuing power play would be the beginning of the end for Columbus as Crosby’s snipe doubled the Penguins’ lead.
Scott Wilson added to the Pittsburgh lead 59 seconds later to put the game out of reach. Fleury stood tall in net making 49 saves as he earned his 57th career playoff win, passing Tom Barrasso on the franchise’s all-time list.
The season ends for Columbus in disappointing fashion after the team recorded the most wins (50), points (108) and goals for (249) in franchise history. Their highlights to take away will be the 16-game win streak, which left them one shy of NHL record, and some potential hardware in June if goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (Vezina) and head coach John Tortorella (Jack Adams) leave Las Vegas with some NHL awards.
The Penguins now have some time off as they await their next opponent in Round 2, which will either be the Washington Capitals or Toronto Maple Leafs. Their series is even at two with Game 5 Friday night at Verizon Center.
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